Cupertino Matters

The major event this week is Mayor Sheila Mohan delivering the annual State of the City Address on Thursday, February 15, at the Quinlan Community Center, located at 10185 North Stelling Avenue. The celebration is sponsored by the City of Cupertino, the Chamber of Commerce, and Cupertino Rotary. There will be a reception prior to the State of the City Address from 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. The State of the City program will begin immediately following the reception at 6:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. The State of the City Address will also be livestreamed on the city’s YouTube channel.

Ballots for the March 5 primary elections arrived this week. Ballots may be mailed in, deposited in a drop box (Cupertino City Hall) or turned in at a Vote Center (Cupertino LIbrary). Details are listed in the paper County Voter Information Guide or located using the Registrar of Voters site.

State Proposition 1 is the only state proposal on the ballot with the text of the ballot over 60 pages long. The League of Women Voters has prepared a five minute synopsis of the key provisions. The Mercury News provides another analysis: Can a $6.4 billion mental health ballot measure solve California homelessness? The measure is part of a broader mental health overhaul to compel more homeless people into treatment. The San Jose Spotlight highlights an earlier 2018 bond to address homelessness that has yet to fulfill all its promises: With New Bond Vote Pending, 2018 Bond for Housing Hits Snags.

Of local interest, the League of Women Voters will be holding a candidate forum for the race for California Assembly District 26 (Evan Low’s seat) on February 15 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. Register here. The full list of local candidate forums is available on the League of Women Voters Cupertino-Sunnyvale website. The site also features additional election information. Videos will be posted on YouTube after the event.

There is more good news about new housing. The county is moving ahead with a plan  to bring affordable teacher and educational staff housing to the West Valley at the so-called Simian site at 10333 N. Wolfe Road, immediately north of the demolished western half of the Vallco mall. The board of Supervisors selected Eden Housing to develop the new project.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb.21, rather than the regular meeting on Tuesday, due to the Presidents’ Day holiday on Monday, Feb. 19.

UPCOMING – Planning Commission – Tues., Feb. 13, 2024, 6:45 p.m., Regular Meeting

Agenda and Presentations

Item No. 2: Election of Planning Commission Chair and Vice Chair, and Committee representatives and 2024 meeting schedule. Commission members decide on these positions which are generally rotated on an annual basis in February. Last year, the Commission broke with this long-standing tradition by reappointing Commissioner Scharf as chair.

Item No. 3: Discuss Recommendations for City Council Work Program Items for 2024 Which Are Within the Jurisdiction of the Planning Commission. All the items on the work program will be evaluated by the council in light of the budget situation. The Commission will review those items which fall under its jurisdiction. Commissioners may also propose up to three additional items for consideration for the FY 2024-25 fiscal year. Readers are urged to review the current work program and provide feedback.

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL – Tues., Feb. 6, 2024, 6:45 p.m., Regular Meeting

YouTube: 3 hr. 59 min.

Agenda and Presentations 

Three Consent Calendar items were pulled by Councilmember Liang Chao to ask questions that could have been provided one-on-one prior to the meeting or which had already been answered in prior meetings. These items were considered after the Actions Items, prolonging the meeting by nearly two hours, wasting public, council and staff time. 

  • Item No. 7: Second reading of Municipal Code Amendment to Chapter 19.76 to allow privately operated educational uses and privately operated public serving uses in the BA zoning district. This drew a sharp rebuke from the City Attorney for Chao’s questioning of the legality of the second reading. Approved 4-1 with Chao voting nay.
  • Item No. 8: Second reading of amendments to Municipal Code Chapter 19.12, Chapter 19.28 and Chapter 19.112 regarding Two-Story Permit and Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) laws. Despite unanimous approval for the first reading, Chao again questioned the second reading, revealing that she was not sure what she had voted for at the ordinance’s first reading in January. Approved 5-0.
  • Item No. 9: Exclusive Negotiation Agreement (ENA) with an affordable housing developer on a City owned parcel within the Mary Avenue right-of-way. Councilmember Chao misunderstood the purpose of this item. It simply authorizes the city to proceed with an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement (ENA) with an affordable housing developer on a City-owned parcel within the Mary Avenue right-of-way near The Oaks/Westport site to develop extremely low-income housing for intellectually and developmentally disabled populations. As the negotiation proceeds, additional details will be provided to the council. Council approved 5-0.

Item No.11: Cessation of Hybrid Commission and Committee Meetings. This item was tabled and will be brought back at a future meeting. There is significant public opposition to the administrative decision to stop Zoom hybrid meetings, instead of exploring options for the public to engage with commissions instead of limiting such participation to in-person only. The major issue is potential legal liability and Brown Act considerations. The fiscal impact is minimal. The most important side effect is the negative impact on public engagement and transparency, which is an overriding goal for the City Work Plan. There are significantly more views of YouTube videos of meetings after-the-fact, as the public chooses to watch city proceedings on demand as their time allows. They can also choose to listen only to those items of interest, rather than the full meetings, which can be overly long.

Item No. 12: Cost Allocation Plan, User Fee Study, and Cost Recovery Policy. Matrix Consulting Group presented the results of a comprehensive Fee Study. Undertaken roughly every seven years, this is an extremely detailed report, taking into account both direct costs and indirect costs (overhead) for all services provided by the city. In general, Cupertino fees are consistent with other jurisdictions, with Planning having a slightly lower cost recovery percentage of 81%. Some additional fees in Public Works Engineering and Planning were identified, as well as fees for services no longer provided. Council provided guidance to staff for the next step of revising the current fee schedule for the next fiscal year. Notably, fees for Parks and Recreation facilities are set administratively and do not require council action to change.

CUPERTINO COURIER: February 9, 2024

The front page photo and article on page 5 is entitled Centennial milestone:  First and oldest park in Santa Clara County celebrates 100th anniversary. Community Briefs on page 5 are (1) Affordable senior housing applications, (2) State of the City and (3) Bikeways construction. There are no legal notices.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor